My love-hate relationship with Twenty-Five Twenty-One | Drama Review

Twenty-Five Twenty-One 스물다섯 스물하나 is currently my comfort drama but I am building a strong love and hate relationship with the characters. 

As an athlete myself, I find sports dramas like Run On and Racket Boys pretty close to my heart. Thus, Twenty-Five Twenty One is no exception and it hits different. I can always see my striving days whenever characters like Na Hee Do get questioned for their abilities. But despite that, her positive outlook paved her way to winning a gold medal.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One Synopsis

During the IMF crisis in 1988, the dreams of the youth got affected. Na Hee Do’s fencing team got disbanded with the lack of support funds. She decided to transfer to another high school and that’s where she finally dreamt of becoming her idol’s rival. 

Baek Yi Jin, the son of a rich businessman dreamt of working in NASA but has to stop attending university and do manual labor. He left his family and worked part-time jobs as a newspaper delivery boy and bookstore keeper. Later on, he became a broadcasting news reporter.

Go Yurim, a fencing gold medalist loses her sponsorship from Baek Yi Jin’s family when his family got bankrupt. She’s been continuously struggling with her insecurities to secure her position so that she can still continue being a fencing athlete given that her family is not well-off and fencing is an expensive sport.


Nam Joo Hyuk as Baek Yi Jin
Kim Tae Ri as Na Hee Do
Bona as Go Yu Rim
Choi Hyun Wook as Moon Ji Woong
Lee Joo Myung as Ji Seung Wan

“If you are doing it because you find it fun, then do it. If you are only after the compliments, stop it.”

Earning a lot of compliments for your hard work isn’t bad but athletes need to keep their feet on the ground for the compliments not to overly affect their attitude. For Hee Do, these words from her dad became her strength but at the same time, these also apply to Go Yu Rim being so insecure of Hee Do.

The IMF crisis affecting the lives of the youth

Having a few rally scenes at times and Baek Yi Jin’s family being bankrupt, the drama also showed how the IMF crisis affected the dreams of the youth in 1988. It also showed how Na Hee Do’s persistence won’t stop her from becoming a fencing prodigy.

Although it hit the family of Baek Yi Jin pretty bad, I love how the drama showed that a person’s optimistic personality can affect others around her and that’s what Na Hee Do is for everyone– a ball of hope and happiness for a few people — and that’s already enough to inspire Baek Yi Jin once again.

Baek Yi Jin finding hope in Na Hee Do

Have you ever thought of having someone who will pursue happiness with you? The friendship of Baek Yi Jin and Na Hee Do is just on a different level. They are each other’s comfort zone and you can totally feel that they are at peace when they are together. 

Isn’t it fascinating how people randomly meet, become friends and depend on each other? When Yi Jin saw Hee Do on tv for the first time, that moment hit him so hard and that has become one of the reasons why he decided to ‘re-live’ his life again not in hiding.

I never thought I am going to see myself crying on scenes where Yi Jin and Hee Do contact each other through payphones and just let their tears simply flow down replaying the messages from their beepers. At some point, I am glad that I was born in the year when computers and phones already exist because I can’t handle not talking to my besties for weeks. 

Go Yu Rim’s first love 

We’ve seen how Go Yu Rim guarded Baek Yi Jin in the early episodes of the drama. She ‘called him ‘her first love’ but I love how straightforward Baek Yi Jin’s personality is after spitting facts with the “your first love is my sports car” line that we never expected.

Besides becoming a gold medalist, Go Yu Rim seems to be a pretty nice student. Although she only has a few friends in school because she’s busy training, we love the fact that she started to entertain our pretty boy Moon Ji Ung.

The coaches

What’s a sports drama without mentioning the coaches? We stan coaches like Yang Chan Mi, she finds the potential of Na Hee Do in fencing and trained her in a different manner. But then, we somehow despise the coach of the national team. 

Imagine having a team coach who only roots for someone in your group? Although this is just a drama, this totally applies too in real life as we’ve seen various biases too in sports competitions.

The fencing rivals

The hardest part of being an athlete is not facing your fears or spending a lot of hours to enhance your skills, it is when you need to face your idol or a friend as your opponent. Na Hee Do has nothing to lose but Go Yu Rim already gained so much power. fame and recognition and that gold medal became her point of suffocation. The pressure obviously took a toll on her that it felt like she is nobody without it. 

If Twenty Five Twenty One aired when I was in grade school or high school, I probably gained hope through a fictional character like Na Hee Do and stood up for myself competing with a friend. Watching it made me reminisce a lot about being an athlete. At the same time, it inspires me to train the young athletes too because I know that one day, some of them will make it.


  • oppaislifeofficial

    Oppa is Life is a fan page created in 2019 when I felt the need for another virtual space to pour out my feels, musings and fangirl experiences. It started as a Facebook fanpage but I later on decided to open other social media accounts because a single Facebook page just doesn’t feel enough.

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